NASA SBIR 2016 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 16-1 A2.02-8094
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Unmanned Aircraft Systems Technology
PROPOSAL TITLE: Smart COordination of UAV Teams (SCOUT)

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Stottler Henke Associates, Inc.
1650 South Amphlett Boulevard, Suite 300
San Mateo, CA 94402 - 2513
(650) 931-2700

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Mr. Richard H. Stottler
1650 South Amphlett Boulevard, Suite 300
San Mateo, CA 94402 - 2513
(650) 931-2700 Extension :2714

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Mr. Nate Henke
1650 South Amphlett Boulevard, Suite 300
San Mateo, CA 94402 - 2513
(650) 931-2700 Extension :2719

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 2
End: 4

Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
Unmanned Aircraft Systems Technology is a Technology Available (TAV) subtopic that includes NASA Intellectual Property (IP). Do you plan to use the NASA IP under the award?

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Managing teams of unmanned vehicles is currently time-consuming and labor intensive. There needs to be a way to control multiple UAV teams with minimal human oversight. The proposed innovation builds on and combines several technologies we have developed to create an architecture and set of software methods that will achieve this goal, significantly advancing the state of the art. The proposed innovations are based on our NASA-funded Aurora planning, resource allocation, and scheduling framework, which has proved optimal in many, many diverse domains, including UAV scheduling; a Probabilistic RoadMap Planner (PRMP) to plan detailed real-time UAV routes to rapidly satisfy and optimize a large number of simultaneous constraints and objectives; the asynchronous consensus-based bundle algorithm (ACBBA) for UAV-to-UAV task negotiation; and the concept of a play (from sports) represented using behavior transition networks (BTNs).

The ultimate goal of this proposed effort is to allow intelligent UAV team coordination and control in an intelligent, predictable, and robust way, with little cognitive load on the human users. This will require intelligent real-time planning, role allocation, negotiation, and detailed path planning and, when communication is not possible, autonomous, intelligent, adaptive behavior by the UAVs.

In Phase I, we will develop the required AI techniques to automate all aspects of intelligently executing, recommending, and/or automatically selecting appropriate plays, robustly assigning roles and planning routes, and adaptively executing each role, robustly and predictably in environments with varying levels of uncertainty. We will design the ultimate system and, to absolutely prove its feasibility, prototype all aspects of it in Phase I on *actual, physical UAVs*.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Although, as requested by the NASA topic, SCOUT focuses on greatly reducing the cognitive burden of controlling UAV teams, the technologies, since they implement a degree of autonomy and because they are not specific to aerial vehicles, would be useful for any NASA mission involving teams of unmanned vehicles of any kind in any location. These could be a team of unmanned spacecraft inspecting the outside of the ISS or any other future NASA facility in space or a combination of UAVs and UGVs on the surface of Mars or another planet or moon, or unmanned subsurface vehicles in the ocean of Europa or another moon. Autonomous science oriented missions would share similarities to the Search and Rescue and other Search-oriented missions discussed in the proposal.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
There are a large number of non-NASA commercial applications for the SCOUT technology, as evidenced by the explosion of civilian UAVs. Examples include remote sensing, disaster response, agriculture, search and rescue (in the wilderness, in the ocean, in urban areas during disasters, inside buildings during fires or other severe problems), wilderness fire-fighting to find hot spots, crop reconnaissance to find problems (such as over/under watering, disease, pests, too much or too few nutrients/fertilizer), surveying networks looking for problems (roads/bridges, electrical distribution, water, oil, or gas pipes, etc. across large outside areas or within buildings/factories), looking for fugitives, and SWAT team and other rapid responses to terrorist, mass shooter, or large scale kidnapping incidents. And, of course, new applications will be discovered all the time, and new ones enabled by SCOUT itself, autonomous UAV teams requiring little human oversight.

There are also many DoD applications for SCOUT. Army and Marine small unit leaders using SCOUT could utilize a variety of manned and unmanned organic assets to accomplish a variety of tactical mission tasks, including autonomous exploration of indoor environments. The proposed techniques are applicable to all four services. Because the techniques are very general, any tactical ISR, weapons effects, exploration, search, or route-planning application would benefit.

TECHNOLOGY TAXONOMY MAPPING (NASA's technology taxonomy has been developed by the SBIR-STTR program to disseminate awareness of proposed and awarded R/R&D in the agency. It is a listing of over 100 technologies, sorted into broad categories, of interest to NASA.)
Autonomous Control (see also Control & Monitoring)
Man-Machine Interaction
Robotics (see also Control & Monitoring; Sensors)
Sequencing & Scheduling

Form Generated on 04-26-16 15:14